Glass Books #5 ~ Cardinal Chang

by Gordon Dahlquist

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Re: Glass Books #5 ~ Cardinal Chang

Unread postby DeppInTheHeartOfTexas » Sat Jan 10, 2009 7:12 pm

That is a good point and he seems rather surprised at himself!
Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming -
Wow! What a ride!

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Re: Glass Books #5 ~ Cardinal Chang

Unread postby suec » Sun Jan 11, 2009 6:32 am

I think there's a bit of the comic book about some of the characters. Some iconography that I recognize as such anyway: the names (Cardinal Chang, Celestial Temple) and also the items of clothing. His red coat, her green boots and underwear. His disfigurement and disability. But I do think there's a lot more to him than that. I feel sad that I don't learn his real name. He's damaged goods and who he might have been if only he hadn't been so abused has been compromised. I like him a lot. He brings professional experience and I like the way he weighs up the odds, balances the risks. He thinks things through and I warm to that. I also warm to him because of how he reacts despite being injured again with the stuff in his lungs. He carries on anyway but there is the moment where he shows real fear and concern over how his life will be affected, fearing how he will be able to continue working afterwards. That is a very human, very real real moment, something I recognize and relate to.
I like the points made about how he's brought back to life as a participant again. He's a variation on the theme of isolation and the bit where we learn how he's had to work out whom to trust and how much, and how to develop human contact, I find very moving.
"Luck... inspiration... both only really happen to you when you empty your heart of ambition, purpose, and plan; when you give yourself, completely, to the golden, fate-filled moment."

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Re: Glass Books #5 ~ Cardinal Chang

Unread postby fansmom » Sun Jan 11, 2009 11:32 pm

suec wrote:I think there's a bit of the comic book about some of the characters. Some iconography that I recognize as such anyway: the names (Cardinal Chang, Celestial Temple)
Are we going to discuss the names separately?

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Re: Glass Books #5 ~ Cardinal Chang

Unread postby DeppInTheHeartOfTexas » Mon Jan 12, 2009 8:50 am

Thanks for asking, fansmom. That would have been a good question! :lol: Go ahead and get us started. :cool:
Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming -

Wow! What a ride!

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Re: Glass Books #5 ~ Cardinal Chang

Unread postby fansmom » Mon Jan 12, 2009 3:41 pm

The name that I really found thought-provoking was Abelard Svenson. The only Abelard I've ever heard of was Peter Abelard, the medieval French monk and philosopher, who was best known for his affair with Héloïse. To me, it's a name that equals doomed love.

Abelard was a renowed teacher and philospher who was assigned to tutor Héloïse, who was the teenaged daughter of a wealthy man. Abelard seduced (or fell in love with) her, and when her father found out that she was pregnant, his henchmen kidnapped and castrated Abelard. After the birth of their son, she became a nun, Abelard taught elsewhere in France, and they never saw each other again, although they wrote letters to each other. They were finally rejoined after their deaths: their tomb is in Pere Lachaise Cemetery in Paris.

So why did the author choose to name the doctor after a doomed (and castrated!) lover?

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Re: Glass Books #5 ~ Cardinal Chang

Unread postby Liz » Mon Jan 12, 2009 5:21 pm

Good catch, there, fansmom. I wonder. :eyebrow:

And where do I know that cemetery from? Someone we’ve discussed here at ONBC is buried there. :-?

What about Celeste? Was she heavenly or divine? She is not exactly saintly. I found on a website about the origin of baby names that Sainte Celeste was a man, the 2nd Archbishop of Metz of the 4th Century. Maybe that explains Miss Temple’s independent attitude. But that conflicts with another site that portrays Saint Celeste as a young girl
(see below). She too ran off.


Saint Celeste was born in the summer of 101 to a blacksmith and his wife. Well into their middle years and blessed with five sons, they had lost hope of ever having a daughter. So joyous were they at her birth, they named her after their beloved Queen unaware of what an impact the Queen's death would have on the tiny infant's life.

A child of eight at the time of the royal massacre, she accompanied her family on their excursion to fulfill the Law of the Spring in compliance with King Dav's Declarations. As the pure water touched her lips, Celeste was filled with such religious fervor that she broke from her family and ran off into the wilderness. Making her home in a nearby cave, she spent those early days in quiet prayer and contemplation. Gradually she began venturing out to speak to the pilgrims who would regularly visit the spring. As word of this pious child spread, larger crowds began to gather to listen to her speak softly of the importance of charity and kindness.

In the winter of 120, at the age of nineteen, she was found dead by the spring, both hands clasped over her heart as if in prayer. In her hands, she held a single red rose. There were no marks on her body nor were there indications of illness or poison. It was determined that mages, jealous of her piety and fearful of the sentiments she inspired in others, used their evil talents to silence her. King Dav, so distraught upon hearing of her death, immediately declared her a martyr and saint.

In artistic renderings, Saint Celeste is usually shown as a delicate child holding a red rose between both hands as she kneels before the sacred spring. A holy day is held for her on the anniversary of her death, Time of Chill 14, Devout followers pass the day in quiet contemplation and acts of charity.
You can't judge a book by its cover.

The only thing that matters is the ending. It's the most important part of the story.

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Re: Glass Books #5 ~ Cardinal Chang

Unread postby DeppInTheHeartOfTexas » Mon Jan 12, 2009 6:58 pm

fansmom, I was not aware of the story of Abelard and Eloise until I was doing research to get ready for the discussion. I thought that was interesting too and would like to know the author's intent, or was it just an inside literary joke?
Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming -

Wow! What a ride!

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Re: Glass Books #5 ~ Cardinal Chang

Unread postby fansmom » Mon Jan 12, 2009 9:49 pm

Liz wrote:Good catch, there, fansmom.
And where do I know that cemetery from? Someone we’ve discussed here at ONBC is buried there. :-?
Oscar Wilde (Johnny spent the night in the hotel room where Wilde died), Jim Morrison (of the Doors, he and Johnny have many things in common), Edith Piaf (Marion Cotillard of PE won an Oscar for portraying her), Chopin (I can't think of a connection to Johnny, but his tomb is truly impressive) . . .

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Re: Glass Books #5 ~ Cardinal Chang

Unread postby gemini » Tue Jan 13, 2009 12:17 am

Under meaning of names
The boy's name Chang \ch(a)-ng\ is of Chinese origin, and its meaning is "smooth, free, unhindered".
"If there are no dogs in Heaven, then when I die I want to go where they went." Will Rogers

Growing old is mandatory, growing up is optional.

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Re: Glass Books #5 ~ Cardinal Chang

Unread postby Liz » Tue Jan 13, 2009 2:35 am

fansmom wrote:
Liz wrote:Good catch, there, fansmom.
And where do I know that cemetery from? Someone we’ve discussed here at ONBC is buried there. :-?
Oscar Wilde (Johnny spent the night in the hotel room where Wilde died), Jim Morrison (of the Doors, he and Johnny have many things in common), Edith Piaf (Marion Cotillard of PE won an Oscar for portraying her), Chopin (I can't think of a connection to Johnny, but his tomb is truly impressive) . . .

Oscar Wilde and Edith Piaf are good as far as Johnny connections, but we haven't really discussed them here at any length. So I had to look into it. There were actually 2: Gertrude Stein and Alice B. Toklas.
You can't judge a book by its cover.

The only thing that matters is the ending. It's the most important part of the story.

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Re: Glass Books #5 ~ Cardinal Chang

Unread postby Liz » Tue Jan 13, 2009 2:37 am

gemini wrote:Under meaning of names
The boy's name Chang \ch(a)-ng\ is of Chinese origin, and its meaning is "smooth, free, unhindered".

And all through the book I was wondering if Chang is of Asian origin, as is Angelique.
You can't judge a book by its cover.

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Re: Glass Books #5 ~ Cardinal Chang

Unread postby gemini » Tue Jan 13, 2009 10:57 pm

Liz wrote:
gemini wrote:Under meaning of names
The boy's name Chang \ch(a)-ng\ is of Chinese origin, and its meaning is "smooth, free, unhindered".

And all through the book I was wondering if Chang is of Asian origin, as is Angelique.

I think in the beginning, they address this. He was not Oriental and his name is a nickname given because of the slash across his eyes. I just wondered if Dahlquist saw the meaning before he choose his nickname. Like suec mentioned before, we don't get to know his real name. ( At least not in this book).
"If there are no dogs in Heaven, then when I die I want to go where they went." Will Rogers



Growing old is mandatory, growing up is optional.

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Re: Glass Books #5 ~ Cardinal Chang

Unread postby suec » Wed Jan 14, 2009 12:13 pm

Miss Temple's full name is Celestial Temple. Apart from the religious theme, I kind of think it's pretty appropriate if the temple is a metaphor for the body because she is desecrated - kind of. She describes herself as a debauched virgin.
"Luck... inspiration... both only really happen to you when you empty your heart of ambition, purpose, and plan; when you give yourself, completely, to the golden, fate-filled moment."

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Re: Glass Books #5 ~ Cardinal Chang

Unread postby Liz » Wed Jan 14, 2009 12:56 pm

gemini wrote:
Liz wrote:
gemini wrote:Under meaning of names
The boy's name Chang \ch(a)-ng\ is of Chinese origin, and its meaning is "smooth, free, unhindered".

And all through the book I was wondering if Chang is of Asian origin, as is Angelique.

I think in the beginning, they address this. He was not Oriental and his name is a nickname given because of the slash across his eyes. I just wondered if Dahlquist saw the meaning before he choose his nickname. Like suec mentioned before, we don't get to know his real name. ( At least not in this book).

I knew I should have gone back and re-read the first couple of chapters with my memory. It seems so long ago that I read them. I keep wishing this book had an index. Bryan Burrough spoiled me. Thanks, gemini, for answering my question.

Suec, interesting point about "Temple". Makes sense to me.
You can't judge a book by its cover.

The only thing that matters is the ending. It's the most important part of the story.

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Re: Glass Books #5 ~ Cardinal Chang

Unread postby DeppInTheHeartOfTexas » Wed Jan 14, 2009 8:02 pm

suec, I had a similar thought. Since she doesn't end up as a victim of The Process, her body is still a Celestial Temple? That may be a reach...
Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming -

Wow! What a ride!


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